Saturday, March 17, 2012

Dear Congolese rebels, please stop using boys as child soldiers. But feel free to continue raping little girls. Sincerely, the International Criminal Court.

So the ICC handed down it's first verdict a few days ago; Thomas Lubanga, Congolese warlord, was found guilty.

Excellent! The man ruined lives for years, committed egregious acts of violence, and he deserves to be locked away for the rest of his piteous life.

He abducted children from homes and playgrounds, and recruited the boys as child soldiers, and turned the girls into sex slaves.

Yet was he found guilty of, in the ICC?

Recruiting and using child soldiers.

That's all.

Despite the fact that there was testimony and evidence proving that he did indeed recruit and use girls as sex slaves and used sexual violence against them. But he was not found guilty of this.


The prosecution did not bother to include those particular charges when it initially filed its case.

I am absolutely disgusted. What conceivable reason is there to include charges of using child soldiers, but NOT include charges of widespread sexual violence?

The boys have got their justice this week. What about the girls? What about the of girls who were brutally raped, gang-raped, mutilated, forced to deliver babies, and who died in childbirth? 

What about them? They are simply ignored by the international justice system?

If the liberal international courts won't fight for the rights of abused and enslaved women, who will?

What message does this verdict send to rebels and militias in the region, and around the world?

"Don't ever, EVER force boys to be soldiers for your armies, or the weight of the international justice system will come down upon you. But by all means, feel free to do as you like with the girls. We ignore that sort of thing".

It's high time that rape started being treated as the unforgivable atrocity it is, rather than just a symptom of war.

The ICC has failed to carry out justice, the prosecutors should be fucking ashamed of themselves.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Rape in chick shows VS guy shows.

I am disgusted and disturbed by the difference in the way rape is portrayed in female-specific shows, and male-specific shows. By 'female and male specific', I just mean that the shows' target audiences are female or male.

Now, let's look at rape in guy-films.

Sleepers; A bunch of boys are systematically raped by prison guards while they're in juvenile detention. They grow up, and coincidentally find their rapist. What do they do? The first one they see, gets shot multiple times in the groin and dies. As for the others, the boys (men, now) execute a brilliant plan to have them all thrown in jail for their crimes.

Pulp Fiction; One of the protagonists is raped by a band of thugs. He is rescued by his fellow, who kills most of the rapists. One is left, and the rescuer leaves the protagonist with a gun trained on the rapist... and it is indicated, in no uncertain terms, that the rapist is about to be tortured for his crimes.

Seems fair, right? Seems perfectly satisfactory.

Onto chick shows;

Desperate Housewives; Gabby's step father used to rape her when she was little. When she is an adult, he reappears in her life. Somehow, she ends up in the woods with him, holding a gun to his head. Does she shoot him? Even in the kneecap? No. Does she whimper ineffectually and run away? Yes.

Later, Carlos kills him. Carlos.

Private Practice; Charlotte is raped brutally. The rapist is, coincidentally, taken into custody in relation to some other crime. Somehow, people put two and two together, and Charlotte is asked to go and identify him in the lineup. Now, Charlotte is ordinarily portrayed as the tough-as-nails, hardline bitch of the practice.

Does she see him? Yes. Does she recognise him as the rapist? Yes. Does she identify him to the police as the rapist? .... No. Apparently she is too 'traumatised'. Too traumatised to identify her rapist and see him brought to justice, too traumatised to get him put behind bars so that he doesn't go on to rape other women. Nope, just too traumatised for all that.

Later, the rapist's girlfriend is the one who turns him in. He is in the hospital (for some reason), and Charlotte goes and visits him... to beat him to death? No. To... at least break his face? No.

What does she do?
"I forgive you".

Sons of Anarchy; The wife of the head biker is gang raped brutally. Later, she goes after one of the rapists with a gun. She is about to shoot him when she hears him on the phone to his son. The fact that he has a son, apparently stays her hand.

What is this?

In a world in which women are routinely, ROUTINELY, raped and brutalised, these shows encourage women to 'forgive' and NOT exact revenge? They attempt to humanise these rapists, these animals, by pointing out that they have families? Like that is somehow enough reason for them to go unharmed?

Whereas, by contrast, rape in guy-centric films is seen to be so grotesque that it warrants torture?

By all means, it DOES warrant torture, the guy-films have it spot on.

What the hell is this double standard? What are the writers of Desperate Housewives, Private Practice, and Sons of Anarchy thinking? In WHAT way is that a helpful, just, or desirable version of reality to present to the public?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Baby butts.

I have long since had to swallow my disgust at the apparent prevalence of naked baby arses on television.

In everything from diaper ads, to moisturiser ads, marketers think the naked posteriors of miniature humans is the strongest selling point.

It's not cool. I'm not sure why advertising companies have deemed it okay, and even more unsure about why the general public has accepted it.

This is how baby butts are portrayed in the media. All airbrushed and pink and resting on plush carpet, I bet you think it looks just darling..

But do you know what it looked like a few moments prior?

A fountain of feces.

Because that's what butts are. I'm at a loss as to why baby bottoms are treated differently to adult bottoms. All bottoms, of all species, excrete waste, and most people find this disgusting. Yet are adult bottoms displayed in, say, Depends ads? Are adult bottoms displayed in panty-liner ads?

In no way is a crack of any kind, young or old, acceptable to me, because I know exactly what comes out of it.

Everybody knows, but they choose to ignore it.

The worst offenders? Baby-wipe ads. They are even more brazen. They actually show a hand, with a wipe in it, wiping the baby's crack. They are just inviting you to envision what the wipe is wiping, and what the wipe is covered in after the wiping has ended.

It's enough to make me dry-retch. I'm having a bit of a dry-retch just talking about it.

Everytime one coos and sighs indulgently at a baby's bottom, it is a willful denial of the knowledge that gross, unspeakable semi-solids exit the very body part you so adore, regularly.

It's a denial of the truth, and I am sick of it.

No longer do I want to be subjected to baby bottoms. No more.

They're not cute, they are yucky. If you like them, you are part of this baby-ass epidemic, and I condemn you.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Transformers 3 - Michael Bay is all kinds of chauvinist pig.

Last night I went and watched Transformers 3 - Dark of the Moon.

Now, I love Transformers, usually. But Michael Bay, the steaming turd, ruined what would otherwise have been an epic movie, by inserting his pointless sexist bullshit.

At first I didn't really care that he replaced Megan Fox with a similarly smoking hot girl who is way out of Shia LaBeouf's league. But I just lost my shit when it came to pass that this one was even more of a useless prop than the last one.

At least the earlier Transformers movies had Megan Fox DO something. Drive a truck backwards through rubble-littered streets, with a crippled transformer shooting shit to hell? That was badass. She contributed, at the very least. Even though she did it in skimpy outfits, perfect makeup, and suggestive body language, she contributed. 

New Girl, on the other hand... she is there to look sexy, to play the hapless victim, to provide the male lead an opportunity to show off his machismo, and to be the naive girl who accepts a Mercedes from her boss and believes that his intentions are purely platonic. The entirety of her dialogue consists of this;
 "Saaaave meeee Saaaammm!"

She is about a foot taller than him. SAVE YOURSELF, YOU AMAZONIAN IDIOT.

And what's more, not only does she do nothing of value in the entire movie, she actually hinders the main character in his noble pursuits.

"NO, Sam, don't go and save your friend! Stay here with meee!", all whilst clinging to his arm like an abandoned toddler.

In a pathetic and misguided attempt to add substance to this girl's dialogue, Bay then has her totter up to Megatron and tell him that he is Sentinel's bitch.

Oh, wise move! It's not as though the dude has a gigantic metal fist trained on your dainty little face, or anything. Do you have a death wish?

The only reason she isn't smushed like an insect? A convenient and timely distraction, so she can scurry away unscathed. Charming.

During the scenes where she is running to escape monstrous metal beasts, I was at least relieved to see that they did not have her attempt that in the ridiculous high heels she'd been wearing for the rest of the movie. Phew! He's not devoid of all sense, thankfully.

Fast forward to the scene at the end, where she is reunited with Sam (no spoiler alert, because this shit is predictable as hell), and voila! She is in 8-inch heels once again! Did she somehow have time to change into heels during her life-threatening ordeal? Are her shoes transformers? Doubt it. More likely, Bay is of the opinion that a female character cannot be truly complete without being elevated on ridiculous shoes, at the expence of practicality. Shocker.

At the happy-ending (no, not the Thai-massage kind) part of the movie, New Girl and Sam are reunited and embrace lovingly. Bumble-Bee, subtle as he is, looms between then, drops a few metal rings on the ground, and plays the wedding march while they're being all smoochy.

Unsurprisingly, New Girl is alight with glee and apparently overjoyed at the mere suggestion of a wedding, while Sam is all, "Whoa, slow down!".

Really? A world famous director cannot bring himself to stray from over-done stereotypes?

Drown yourself, Michael Bay. Nobody needs your patriarchal, chauvinistic bullshit. This is the 21st century. Try and keep up.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Dear white people.

We know you feel bad about all the colonialism, slavery, and general racism. The White Australia policy, the culling of indigenous populations, etc. We know.

But I'm here to tell you that you don't need to feel guilty anymore. It's in the past, we understand. That's not to say that you shouldn't still be aware of the sensitivities of black/brown/other non-white people with regards to racism.. but you don't need to 'make up for' the past anymore.

You need to shake off the white shame that you have been saddled with ever since the first history lesson which opened your eyes to the racism of your ancestors. Please, take the lesson, and leave the guilt behind.

Because you're going to the other extreme.

Case in point; Chris Hedges. Here is what he has to say about islamic terrorism in light of the recent bombing/shooting in Norway.

"The gravest threat we face from terrorism, as the killings in Norway by Anders Behring Breivik underscore, comes not from the Islamic world but the radical Christian right and the secular fundamentalists"
I mean, really.

I stand in awe at the kind of mental gymnastics one must perform to arrive at the conclusion that Christianity and secularism are a bigger threat to civilisation today, than Islam.

Now, I am no fan of any organised religion, but come on. This grand conclusion is hastily jumped to because of A SINGLE shooter in Norway? Really?

A single Norwegian who killed about 90 people


 The 9/11 attacks, where a little under 3000 people were killed, multiple bombings in Mumbai, the most recent of which claimed at least 20 lives and injured 100 more, suicide bombings in London, which killed 52 and injured 770, the stabbing of Theo Van Gogh, for the heinous crime of producing a film that criticized the treatment of women in Islam, the killing of 8 UN workers in response to some pastor burning Qu'rans in the US, the bombing of and setting fire to Danish embassies in Pakistan, Syria, Lebanon and Iran, as well as violent protests, in reaction to a Danish cartoonist depicting Muhammad, resulting in over 100 reported deaths. Then there's all the people who live under threat of being killed for speaking out against Islam, Salman Rushdie and Ayaan Hirsi Ali come to mind.

So, final scores?

Christian terrorism: 90 lives lost.
Islamic terrorism: 3181 lives lost.
Secular 'fundamentalists': 0 lives lost.

And that's just off the top of my head. Is there even a comparison? What complete lunatic feels more threatened by Christian and secular 'fundamentalism' in today's world than Islamic fundamentalism?

I pondered this apparent insanity for a long time, until I realised... some white people now, especially those identifying as liberals, are just too scared of being called racist or xenophobic to openly criticise Islam. It's simply not 'politically correct'! Much easier for them to criticise Christianity, or those evil secularists, and get away with it, because these are largely 'white' groups, and nobody can be 'racist' towards whites!
You're taking the whole 'acceptance of other cultures' thing a little too far.

Just what exactly must a non-white group adhering to an ideology DO in order to draw criticism from you? Making their intentions to spread Islam all over the world and institute Sharia Law everywhere known hasn't worked (Islamic Emirates in the UK). Suicide attacks haven't worked, rejection of western values *while residing in western countries* hasn't worked (40% of young british muslims saying they would like to see Sharia law implemented, and 36% saying that a Muslim who converted to another religion should be put to death). Murdering/calling for the murder of people who dare dissent (Theo Van Gogh, Salman Rushdie, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Kurt Westergaard) hasn't worked, subjugation of women (50% of the human population!) hasn't worked...

Just what MUST they do in order for you to see the threat here?

Anders Breivik, to my knowledge, did not say that he killed all those people because of his christianity, or neo-naziness. But most people acknowledge that his religious fundamentalism probably informed his actions (even though his religious conviction can be questioned upon reading the manifesto he posted online).

Yet, Islamic suicide bombers and terrorists explicitly tell us that they kill infidels in the name of Allah, that they behead people for insulting Muhammad, that they bomb hundreds for not following Islamic law... and yet people like Chris Hedges search for other reasons they might have done these things?

Why don't we simply believe what they are telling us?

It's okay to acknowledge that European/western culture today is the most progressive culture around. Really, it is. It's okay to acknowledge that democracy beats theocracy. It's okay to say that a religious ideology is wrong, even if the typical holders of this ideology aren't white. I promise you, it's okay.

PS: If you want to read Sam Harris's rebuttal of Hedges, it can be found here.
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